16 steps one should take when starting a company
“I have a business idea. It’s going to be revolutionary,” an entrepreneur said, walking past.
On the surface, starting your own business sounds like a great idea–you get to be your own boss and work on something that you’re passionate about. However, you can also expect a sense of fulfillment from seeing other people use your product or service every day while being compensated for it at the same time.
However, not all entrepreneurs actually manage to make their business idea into a success story. Unfortunately, around 30% of startups have survived the past five years. So what separates successful entrepreneurs from the rest?
Take a look at these 16 steps one should take when starting a company:
1. Find your niche
Make sure you know what your strengths are and use them to maximize the chances of success for your new business venture. For example, it makes virtually no sense to start dabbling with different things if it is not something you are truly excited about or passionate about.
2. Make yourself known
If possible, invest time and effort into establishing some kind of online presence through social media or blogs at least 6 months before you fully launch your new company. This will enable interested parties to get in touch with you as well as gradually increase brand awareness which may lead to more sales later on.
Posting regular updates with keyword research as well as behind-the-scenes footage on social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter can be beneficial because it allows interested parties to get in touch with your company. Although this should not be confused with providing 24/7 support, making people aware of recent developments may lead to increased brand awareness, and even lower customer acquisition costs down the line.
3. Have a diverse skill set
One should have several skills that complement each other. For example, if the business you’re starting is online-based, it would be to your advantage to learn SEO and Content Marketing. It doesn’t matter which one you start with since they both require a lot of research and effort. During your free time, investigate how these two fields work together so you’d know what steps to take when your business expands in the future.
When developing products or services for your customers, try to put yourself in their shoes and see what you would prefer if it were an established business. Paying close attention to detail is always a good way of making sure that all aspects satisfy the needs of your target group.
It seems like everyone has become their own “business” these days. There are countless Instagram models with hundreds of thousands of followers, YouTube stars who make six figures per year, and bloggers who make more than most CEOs. With this in mind, it’s easy to become discouraged when you look at the market. However, that is exactly why the competition should not deter you from your dreams. After all, if entrepreneurship was for the weak, then everyone would do it.
Try to find out if there is an existing market for your products or services before investing large amounts of capital. If possible, speak with some business associates and try to get a feel for the current situation on the ground before spending money on something that may not actually bring any returns at all.
5. Avoid overspending
Starting an online business requires money, just like any other business. Technology is expensive, and so are websites. Not only do you need to be able to afford your own hosting, but your site needs to be designed well too. After all, no one wants to visit a poorly coded mess of a website, even if it does have amazing products.
It’s important not to overspend during the early days of running your own company. While having an initial office space is usually necessary, spending too much money on it might leave little for your personal needs like food or transport. Also, remember that cash flow will ebb and flow depending on how profitable the business is, so it’s okay to have some months where you are operating at a loss. Just try not to overspend on anything so the company will not be forced to shut down due to bankruptcy.
6. Consider outsourcing
It takes time for new entrepreneurs to learn everything that needs to be done in order for their business idea to become successful. During this period of trial and error, start off by outsourcing tasks that aren’t central to your product or service. This way, you can decrease expenses and allocate more resources towards areas of your business that need improvement. Retaining an outsourcing firm can also save you considerable amounts of time–you won’t have to spend hours learning how it works, preparing presentations, and communicating with the staff.
Starting your own business is a lot of work. Being an entrepreneur means you are required to wear many hats. You may need to hire virtual assistants or outsource some tasks, but the fact remains that you are ultimately responsible for every aspect of your project. This can be extremely time-consuming and exhausting!
8. Have a strict budget
It’s tempting to overspend on marketing your product or service if you think that it’ll bring in more customers. However, this is not always the case–a large portion of your advertising budget might be wasted if your business isn’t well-researched. If you’re just starting out, stick to traditional forms of gaining new customers, such as visiting trade shows. You can also invest some funds into search engine optimization since it doesn’t require an extensive amount of money for upkeep.
9. Take small steps at first
Don’t bite off more than you can chew when planning how your business will operate. Start small and focus exclusively on one aspect of your service or product. Expand gradually when you feel that the company is operating smoothly. For instance, if you’re planning to open an online store, don’t try to sell every type of product at the same time. Instead, identify your brand’s core competencies and what will make you stand out from competitors first.
Some businesses take off much faster than others. It’s all dependent on your network, timing, and luck. However, even if everything goes well, you should not expect to have stability overnight. Even the most successful entrepreneurs had gone through several ups and downs before they reached their current status, so it is best to go into this venture emotionally prepared for failure at any given moment.
11. Come up with a Plan B
Since the majority of startups eventually fail, it’s important that one has a plan for emergency situations. Come up with backup plans just in case certain parts of your business do not operate as expected. You can also create contingencies so clients won’t be disappointed by the unavailability of specific services. It also pays to have several fallback options on standby just in case some aspects aren’t profitable.
12. Start small, think big
Don’t be overconfident when starting your own business–you can always expand further once you’ve made significant progress. There’s no need to come up with an extensive business plan right away–just do what you can and work towards making it grow bigger. Allow for some margin of error along the way so you’ll have time to make adjustments without disrupting smooth operations.
13. Find a mentor
In the event that your business fails to become profitable, consider seeking advice from experts. This isn’t a sign of defeat–it just means you’re willing to learn from other people’s mistakes. People who have been in your shoes will be able to advise you on which aspects need immediate attention and what should be improved for future projects. You’ll also gain more knowledge about the industry by seeking mentors and avoiding making costly missteps that can potentially lead your company into bankruptcy.
The internet is extremely reliant on technology. Therefore, any type of digital business depends on the internet or, rather, your access to it. If you’re running a website, then this means that you should be prepared to deal with any downtime that may occur. It may not happen every day, but it’s sure to happen at some point which means that you’ll need to be able to work around these obstacles or risk losing your customers/clients and, in turn, their money.
15. Avoid business partnerships
It’s important not to rely too much on outside help when starting up, especially if it involves sharing finances. While having partners might appear advantageous, giving out of your profits requires trust–something that can easily be broken. You’ll also have to share decision-making power, which can result in a highly disorganized company if you disagree on certain issues.
16. Watch your money
While it’s necessary to spend some of your budget on research and development, try not to overspend. If there are parts of the business that aren’t turning a profit or can no longer be afforded, do away with them–no matter how important they seem. This way, you won’t lose sight of your core competencies and will always know how profitable each sector of your company is.